Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What does it mean to be human? An interview with Linda Andrews

1) Tell us about your book.

I think the blurb tells it best:

A woman from the past.
A cyborg with no future.
They have every reason to mistrust each other but one: survival.

When Nell Stafford passed out it was 2012. When she wakes up naked aboard a starship it's 2138, and she's surrounded by the Syn-En: synthetically-enhanced soldiers with a grudge against humans like her. She doesn't know where she is or what's happened, only that her life has been destroyed and everyone she's ever known is dead.

Their leader Beijing York has just discovered his people's creators--humans--have betrayed them. They were promised freedom and equality in exchange for settling a newly discovered planet at the other side of a wormhole. But the Syn-En have outlived their usefulness.

The offer was a trick.

The wormhole has collapsed, and now both Nell and the Syn-En are trapped far from Earth to face almost certain death.

Bei has lost his future, and Nell has lost her past.

But Nell gained something in her 120-year sleep; somehow, she knows everything the Syn-En need to survive. Now she must convince Bei and his people to trust her--as soon as she learns to trust the mysterious intelligence.

2) What inspired this book?

The idea came from a multitude of places. First there was a man in England who inserted a chip in his arm and connected it to a computer to track the way muscles interact with the brain. Then there was an article in US News and World Report about testing a new prosthesis that could actually be
controlled by the amputee's brain, giving him some fine motor coordination. Add in synthetic skin used to treat burn patients and I had to makings of a cyborg.

3) Why did you choose to have a science fiction tale centered around a woman originally from our time ending up in the future?

Although The Syn-En Solution takes place a hundred years in the future, I needed a way to make things understandable to modern readers since I didn't plan to stick with current SciFi lingo. Also, I needed someone to facilitate the building of this new society between the cyborgs and the
humans. Of course, I had to add a twist to take it to the next level.

4) Is there a particular science fiction idea that your book focuses on?

Like most classic SciFi, I addressed the issue of what it really means to be human. We stand on the cusp of gigantic scientific leaps in medicine that will push those boundaries. Add in a little genetic engineering to change our appearance, maybe give some of us wings or cat's eyes, and the question is bound to arise: when do we stop being Homo sapiens and become something else?

5) It's often said that science fiction tells us more about the present than any imagined future. Do you think this is true? If so, what does your book tell us about our present?

I absolutely believe that the best SciFi reflects our present back on us and that by setting it in the future, we're able to deal with it a little more objectively. I suppose The Syn-En Solution tells us two things about modern Western society. First, that we're looking for technology to save us from really bad choices (which I believe it can). And two, that technology doesn't save us from our nature. Said another way, if we find a technology to scrub CO2 from our atmosphere are we going to keep improving clean energies or harvest all the fossil fuels?

6) Who has influenced you as a writer?
So many things influence me, particularly other writers like Robert Frost and H.G. Wells. But then my critique partners and beta readers have their say and lastly, there is the snappy dialogue from old movies that can create an interesting and sometimes unintended subtext.

7) What do you have in-store for future books?

I've already finished the second book in the series, Syn-En: Culture Clash, where we meet some pretty cool aliens, and after Christmas I plan to work on the third book, Syn-En: Registration, where the Syn-En have to travel to another planet and register the human race as a sentient species so aliens
stop treating us as lab rats.


Thanks, Linda.

You can find more from Linda at

The Syn-En Solution can be purchased at Amazon.


Linda Andrews said...

Thanks for having me on your blog today.

J.A. Beard said...

You're welcome.

Bk Walker said...

Thank you for hosting Linda :)